Go Slow Fast

A very wise supervisor gave me a recommendation years ago while on the job. “Go Slow, Fast” came from the Japanese who could do nothing wrong in the world of Quality Control. What it means is to take many seemingly infinitesimal steps toward progress, but take them quickly so the sum of the steps quickly becomes a solution or major improvement. It took me months to digest that one, but eventually I got the point. Now I live by that credo, “Go Slow, Fast,” if only because I have fewer days ahead of me than I have behind. The problem is that the body is no longer as able to go as fast as is required to make the slogan work to satisfaction. Nevertheless, as I age, I try my best to make the baby steps go by quickly.

My latest project which I have christened “House in a House” is a rather large effort. Until recently, the lower part of our home which we call the basement, consisted of concrete walls (the foundation of the house), and a concrete floor. Out of sheer boredom, I decided to finish the space to make it more livable. Up until now I used only one small corner of the area for my wood shop. I have dreamed of a spotless clean totally organized workshop all my life, but never had the gumption to make it happen. Had I used the Go Slow, Fast slogan I would have accomplished that years ago. The problem was that my wood shop was never the highest priority in the mix of life. This time the wood shop is still not the highest priority as it has taken back seat to finishing five large living spaces: 1. legacy hall, 2. a dining area, 3. a recreation area, 4. a kitchen, and 5. the shop. The area under construction is approximately 1200 square feet. Since I raised my family in a home of 1000 square feet I can confidently call this renovation a house inside a house.

I am trying to be a hero by doing as much of the work myself, but I have succumbed to asking for help from a few angels, some mercenary and others very kind hearted. At this time I have about 65 percent under my belt. The Go Slow Fast credo has made me concentrate completely on this project, to the point of setting my blog, garden, and Lions Club activities aside. Three major steps remain, electrical, floor, and ceiling. The electrical is being done by one angel, the remaining floor and ceiling will be done by me with some assistance from a second angel. I have promised Lovely a vacation between the floor and ceiling steps because she has been an angel and has stayed out of my hair the whole time. I see her at breakfast and then tell her I have to go to work, and return at wine time. We both need away time together. I have a favorite Tervis tumbler that is engraved with a scene titled “Life is Better at the Beach.” I seem to be using that glass more frequently for my Margaritas, and Martinis, and the image provokes the idea that it is time to travel.

Four Score and Four

Today is the day on this planet that my odometer turns to four score and four. Yesterday, when I started this post I awoke early to get a jump on the day because Lovely left me a honey-do list which I promised to take care of: Vacuum the carpets, and thin the native perennials from the more civilized flower beds. My plan was to get up early (8:00 a.m. is early) to get the coffee started, and to then hop into the car to ACE Hardware. I tried to get this done last evening but the store was closed when I arrived. Like a fool, I jumped into the vacuuming last night, but decided to change the dirt bag first. I trashed the very full old bag and went to the drawer in the laundry room where such things are kept. Guess what? No bags, thus the need for an early run to the ACE.

Being an engineer, and having used a vacuum cleaner many times before, I did not seek information on how to install a new bag, how hard could that be? I went for it, and then powered up the machine to test it; it had no suck power at all. WHAT? I went to my trusty PC and opened Youtube for a seminar. A pretty young lady in short-shorts and a tight-tee instructed me on how to remove blockages that kill sucking ability. I wound up disassembling the entire Hoover sucking system. There were a number of blockages at various bends in the tubing. The lady in short-shorts also mentioned something about changing the drive belt. I looked in the same drawer that normally holds Hoover parts, but there was no drive belt. Since the old belt was about twice as long as a new one, and the beater-bar brush could be spun easily by hand I decided to take another run to ACE for a belt. While at it, I made the mistake of mentioning to Lovely where I was going, and she gave me a list of things she needed from the grocery store which is opposite the ACE. Not a problem. While at the grocery, my stomach began to send me pangs of hunger, so I added a really neat Italian sub sandwich to the basket.

After eating half of a foot long sandwich, I resumed working on the vacuum. Installing the new belt was a little laborious, but I managed. I began a test by vacuuming, and after awhile decided to check how the bag was performing, and found a giant mess. Evidently, I botched the oh-so easy bag install procedure and got it in wrong. As I did that I also managed to tear the bag. The result was a pile of raw dirt and fine dust all around the bag but nothing in it. GRRRR! Once again I disassembled the entire plumbing system to find the problem. I did, by shoving a broom handle down the entire length of the flexible hose. To my surprise, a plug resembling a birds nest squirted out the end. What baffled me though was that the entire inside of the machine was packed with new dust and the bag was clean, but torn.

I went back to Youtube school and found another video on how to install a fresh bag. I froze the screen looking for the knack that I had missed. I kept trying and on the third try realized that the card board collar around the bag-opening slides into a special track. I was trying to slide it over the top of the slide thus missing the crucial track and kept getting it wrong. One, two, buckle my shoe a new bag slipped into place with great ease.

The vacuum job took forty minutes, but it was five p.m. when I finished; “Wine Time.” I put off the attack on the native perennials (weeds) till another time. Meanwhile, I just completed the first of my posts for August after a July hiatus. July is a separate story which may or not be told depending upon which side of the bed I get out on.

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